9780385528955

Gifts of War: A Novel

Ford, Mackenzie

ISBN 10: 0385528957 / 0-385-52895-7
ISBN 13: 9780385528955
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Publication Date: 2009
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
A vivid tale of romance, adventure, and intrigue, Gifts of War is a remarkable novel that explores what made War World I so tragic and revolutionary.
 
During the Christmas Truce of 1914, Hal Montgomery makes a pact with a German soldier that will change his life—he promises to find his enemy’s English girlfriend, Sam, and let her know her fiancé is alive. But things take an unexpected turn when Hal falls in love with Sam himself. As their romance blossoms, she shares her most private confidence: Her newborn son is of German lineage, information that threatens her reputation and her job as a schoolteacher. Fearful that he will lose Sam, Hal holds tight to the secret that brought them together. But fashioning a family life proves precarious when it is founded on a lie.

Review:
Book Description
During the Christmas Truce of 1914, Hal Montgomery, a British soldier, is given a photo by a German soldier, Wilhelm Wetzlar, and they make a pact. Hal promises to find his enemy’s English girlfriend, Samantha, and let her know her fiancé is alive and thinking of her. Several weeks later, Hal—now injured—is discharged from the army and goes to Stratford on Avon to fulfill his promise. But things take an unexpected turn when he meets the woman in the photo and falls in love with her himself. As their romance blossoms, Sam shares with Hal her most private confidence: Her newborn son is of German lineage, information that threatens her reputation and her job as a schoolteacher. Fearful that he will lose Sam, Hal holds tight to the secret—and the photograph—that brought them together.

The scene shifts to London, where Hal becomes involved with military intelligence and is introduced to Sam’s sisters and a different kind of secrecy. Against the broader landscape of England in wartime, Gifts of War captures the era and the fates of men and women caught in the sweep of history. A vivid tale of romance, adventure, and intrigue, the novel is a remarkable narrative that explores what made War World I so tragic, so revolutionary, and so exciting. It also announces a gifted new novelist.

Amazon Exclusive: Mackenzie Ford on Gifts of War

I am an only child, but the son of a mother who was one of four sisters, very close. And my father was a twin. I have, therefore, always been interested in how families influence behaviour, but more in how brothers and sisters impact on each other, rather than how parents influence their children. At the same time, I have observed how in the English language, so precise in many ways, we have just the one word—‘love’—to describe a wide range of feelings. We say we love the theatre, or the sun, or our laptops, but those are pale emotions compared to how we fall in love with someone else, and that can’t compare with the love of a parent for a child, or a child for a parent. Why were my mother and her sisters so close, why did they love each other so much, when other brothers and sisters are not close at all, may even be archrivals, as say King Lear’s daughters were?

Gifts of War explores these issues against a background of the First World War, and for three reasons. The danger inherent in war heightens all emotions, and its sheer proximity forces a psychological equality on people that is absent the rest of the time; it helps the story-teller. But second, I have also noticed that, contrary to common sense, or what we take common sense to be, amid the danger—or perhaps because of it—people enjoy wartime conditions, some of them, or at least they say they did, after the event. So Gifts of War is about the good things that can come out of the unusual psychological circumstances of war.

That’s all background of course. A final reason for choosing a wartime setting is that early on in World War One there was a very unusual development: at Christmas-time ordinary soldiers, in defiance of High Command, insisted on a truce, when they laid down their arms, climbed out of the trenches and fraternised with each other, swapping badges and photographs and cigarettes. This unusual occurrence allowed me, as a storyteller, the chance to begin a story of a kind that could occur in no other way, in no other war, in no other time. That, I like to think, is what makes Gifts of War unique.

I particularly enjoyed creating Isobel (Izzy), Hal's sister, a nurse at the Front. I spent months in the company of these characters and I hope you will savour them and their inter-relationships as much as I did. I was reluctant to let them go, but as you will see, there is an inevitability to the ending. --Mackenzie Ford

Review

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

Gifts of War: A Novel: Search Results

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Ford, Mackenzie
ISBN 10: 0385528957
ISBN 13: 9780385528955
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Book Description: Nan A. Talese, 2009. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "The best war stories are often love stories, and Mackenzie Ford has come up with a doozy. An absorbing, morally complex read." USA Today "Descriptions of spying, intrigue, intelligence operations, jingoism of every stripe, and technological and medical breakthroughs reveal how those across the pond experienced the war to end all wars. The historical detail adds to the drama as first novelist Ford (a pseudonym for a British historian) keeps the reader on a knife's edge as the lies build and the truth is only a word or misstep away. Highly recommended for readers of historical fiction as well as those who enjoy tales of espionage." Library Journal, starred review "Ford combines the intrigue and tension of military intelligence with an affecting portrayal of a challenging love affair.[Gifts of War] succeeds on many levels." The Minneapolis Star Tribune "A fine work of fiction-faithful to historical fact and romantic to its core. Ford's precisely descriptive style and leisurely storytelling introduce a strong cast of characters. He also paints a vivid picture of the ferment of World War I and sets up an understanding of its effect on England's future. This relatively conventional romance also has a shocker of a surprise ending and will appeal to a variety of historical-fiction readers. Give it to fans of Susan Isaacs'Shining Through(1988) or Michael Ondaatje'sThe English Patient(1992), among others. It would make a great date movie, too." Booklist "Author Fordthe real identity apparently is a well-kept secret[constructs] a novel that can be appreciated on multiple levels. The war scenes, the love angle, the Switzerland undercover operation and the English war intelligence operation in London take turns capturing reader interest. Ford's straightforward prose makes the novel a page-turner. Whoever he or she is, Mackenzie Ford has talent." San Antonio Express News "Not only a romantic suspense tale,Gifts of Waris also an espionage thriller. Mackenzie Ford makes the war real, both at the front and back home in England." The Free Lance-Star "Set against the panorama of the First World War,Gifts of Waris a poignant love story, a finely woven tapestry of choice, consequence and redemption. Mackenzie Ford explores the ambiguities of the human heart with an unwavering hand, and in so doing creates a haunting and moving tale that will resonate with the reader long after he or she has finished the last page." Pam Jenoff, international bestselling author ofAlmost HomeandThe Kommandant's Girl "This book is a joy to read. Wonderful period detail, and the atmosphere so convincing it had me looking out the window for Zeppelins. The First World War-with its no-man's land and valiant nurses-is disturbingly contrasted to the peaceful idyll of rural England. Even the touching love story, with a secret ticking away like a time-bomb at its heart, has us on a knife-edge of uncertainty. And Ford provides fascinating details of the thrills of the wartime intelligence world. I was swept up in this intimate and captivating story of conflicting loyalties. It's the kind of read that lingers in the mind." Kate Furnivall, author ofThe Russian Concubine "Gifts of Waris a passionate, engrossing page-turner-a full-blooded epic story of love, the corroding power of secrets, and a man at war with himself." Anthony Capella, author ofThe Food of Love. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0385528957

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Book Description: Deckle Edge Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Published by Nan A. Talese in 2008. Very light shelf wear to cover, otherwise NEW. Quality Books. Because We Care - Shipped from Canada. Usually ships within 1-2 business days. If you buy this book from us, we will donate a book to a local school. We donate 10,000+ books to local schools every year. Bookseller Inventory # R13186C

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